Does Internal Communication slow you down?

I have often thought how interesting it would be if it was possible to look down on a company and see all the inter-office communication that’s going on.  When a client calls and asks a question, when a senior manager requests information, or when a colleague enquires about the state of a new piece of business.

From that moment onwards, to be able to see what happens, i.e. who contacts whom and asks what.  To be able to map out the information and call flow for each one of these journeys.

Then imagine that you combined them all to see the totality of the flow within your company.

While it may not be possible to do that, it would be an interesting exercise to estimate, on average, how many contacts or request stages each one of these journeys has and then, by assuming how many such ‘journeys’ there might be in a typical day to come up with a total.  Irrespective of what this is – it will be pretty large for sure!

Recently I met a new contact from a medium sized international technology company.  We spoke about their business operations and their CRM use in particular.

They use CRM to record all their orders.  It’s a must do for all their sales staff.  Getting the order ID is crucial and if it’s not in the system, it doesn’t exist.

It’s really good that it is being used by everyone, it’s music to my ears!  However, this appears to be its primary and potentially only purpose.  It’s become an administrative system, an admin task seen, as such, by users and not used for the many other activities which may have been expected of it when it was originally rolled out.

Imagine all the internal and client requests for information which could be satisfied, if this system, which everyone already uses, was extended to add in client referrals, new business leads, opportunity stages, meetings and other interactions as well as the myriad of other day to day activities which happen in any typical busy business environment.

My estimation is that the internal ‘looking for information’, ‘waiting for replies’, ‘duplication of effort’, ‘delay in being able to get back to clients’, ‘frustration in not knowing or being able to find out’, is one of the biggest drawbacks to improved efficiency in many companies, particularly when there are multiple offices.  If, as a start, 25% of this information was put into your CRM, imagine what a difference this would make!